This research study examines the interaction between youth queer narratives and young people through examining my core research question, How do young people engage, interpret, and respond to queer narratives? Applying a feminist narrative analysis to examine the qualitative data, I propose a methodological research shift where the voices of youth are valued as content experts; an artistic shift that moves content-creation away from a top down traditional media model and towards a youth-centered new media approach for art making; an aesthetic shift away from over-used stereotypes, tropes, and stale representations and instead innovate to represent intersectional, spectrum-based diversity of the LGBTQ+ experience.
This qualitative research study utilizes questionnaires, focus groups, and case study interviews, to engage adolescent perceptions of queer narratives. The youth, ranging in ages from 15 to 18 years old and living in the Phoenix, Arizona metro area, explore and examine LGBTQ+ themes, characters, plots in traditional and new media.
My dissertation examines youth interactions with queer narratives through three chapters. These address themes of: character, identity, and representation; plot and the search for accuracy; and the symbiotic exchange between narrative and community. Throughout the dissertation, young people analyze narratives, reflect on their own lives, and envision the future of youth queer narrative. The youth describe a move away from traditional media and towards new media platforms with user-created content, social network interaction, and the sharing of common experiences with peers. Finally, I examine the implications of both the research findings and the methodology on the future of youth-engaged qualitative research, as well as the performing arts.